LinkedIn is a great free platform to build up your work profile. With millions of people all around the world using it to advertise themselves and network with others, it has now become the world’s most prominent platform for creating professional profiles and job hunting. This guide will help you get started.
How does LinkedIn work?
LinkedIn is sort of like a fancy CV: you create a profile that lists all of your skills, work experience, and sometimes other interests like volunteering or language skills. You can connect to people you’ve worked with in the past, and employers and recruiters can find your profile while searching for people with certain skills. You can also apply to jobs directly on LinkedIn.
More than just a CV
A CV (or resume, as it’s called in the US) usually is a maximum of 1-2 pages and is still the most usual form of applying for a job. The length limitations mean that you can only really list very relevant work experience, and your most recent work experience.
On LinkedIn, you can log all the work experience you have ever had to build up an in-depth profile. That way, employers can see your entire job history. Unlike a CV, you can use LinkedIn to showcase your portfolio of work, which is especially useful for those wanting to get into the creative sectors. It can also be made accessible for any employer to see online, unlike a CV/resume, which you usually send to specific employers. Finally, you also use LinkedIn to build up a professional network of connections online. These connections might be potential employers, but they could also just be people who are working in your desired industry, who could share valuable information and advice.
How to build a LinkedIn profile
If you’ve had a job before, or are currently working, you can start to add in your work experience to your profile.
If you’ve completed unpaid work experience or voluntary work you can include this, or even any relevant activities you have completed that have helped you to build employability skills, such as The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award.
Our best tips for logging your experience are:
- Keep it succinct. Employers will most likely scan over your whole profile, looking for key areas they are interested in. Don’t ramble.
- Mention your skills. You want to show a new employer the skills you can take to their company, not just that you were excellent in undertaking the responsibilities you previously had.
- Consider the role you want. Write about previous experience with this in mind. If you are looking to work in a specific industry, make sure your experience reflects that you have focused on building key skills to support you working in that area.
- Use Unifrog’s Activities and Competencies tools. If you’ve been keeping your Activities and Competencies up-to-date, now’s the perfect time to take advantage of all that hard work. Look through them and copy the most relevant ones over to LinkedIn.
What else can be added?
- Education: list the qualifications you have achieved so far, or ones you are working towards. Put your most recent qualifications first.
- Skills: Your skills reflect your ability to perform in a work environment so list as many as you can!
- Accomplishments: Won an award? Completed a MOOC? Make sure to add your certificate in here.
- Interests: You’re more than just a piece of paper. What hobbies set you apart from the rest?
And that’s it – you’re ready to start connecting with people! If you’re sending a connect request to someone you don’t know very well or haven’t even met, it’s polite to accompany it with a short message explaining who you are, the career you’re pursuing, and why you’d like to connect with them.
Some people have a policy of only connecting with those they know personally or have worked with directly, so if you don’t get responses, don’t be discouraged. And don’t worry about rushing to get as many contacts as possible right away: as you move through your career, you’ll naturally gain new connections.